Americares is a health focused international relief and development organization committed to saving lives and improving health for those affected by poverty and disaster around the world. Americares Medical Outreach Program donates free medicines and medical products and provides educational and training resources to U.S. licensed volunteer medical teams traveling abroad to provide primary care, perform surgeries, respond to emergencies and strengthen local health care capacity. Each year, the program supports more than 1,000 volunteer medical trips to approximately 80 countries. In addition to provision of medicines and supplies, a core area of Americares work focuses on improving the practice, impact and sustainability of short-term medical missions.
The PQMD Healthcare System Strengthening/Medical Mission Initiative is a multi-year initiative that aims to formalize and improve the practice and impact of short-term medical missions to better support, strengthen and build capacity of local health systems. In the first year of the initiative, formative research was conducted to evaluate available standards and guidelines and identify gaps within existing resources. A draft framework for guidelines was developed which took into account these existing gaps including a lack of host country representation. Additionally, a working group and advisory group were established, reflecting the diverse group of stakeholders that are involved and impacted by this work. As the initiative has moved into its second year, a major emphasis will be vetting and finalizing the guidelines, with review and support by international stakeholders. In collaboration with PQMD, and the current members of the HSS/MM working group, Americares will lead the coordination of Year 2 activities and deliverables, which include:
- Development of a framework for medical mission best practices based on:
- Development of an assessment tool to evaluate medical mission guidelines amongst international stakeholders
- International vetting of the draft guidelines by key stakeholders in 3-5 countries
- Finalization of the current draft guidelines and standards that incorporates international stakeholder feedback and ensures quality programming and implementation including impact metrics
- Continued use of the Community of Practice (CoP) as the platform on which to develop and expand the initiative
- Support of a coalition of stakeholders engaged in improving the quality and impact of medical missions
The Consultant will be responsible for providing the following deliverables:
1) Development of an international assessment tool for in-country vetting of the HSS/MM guidelines
The development of the assessment tool will be done in conjunction with PQMD and members of the working group. The goal is to develop a tool that can also be used by other sending organizations to assess their respective standards and guidelines with international stakeholders.
2) Obtaining in-country framework in 3-5 countries
Obtaining in-country feedback is critical for the success of PQMD HSS/MM. The PQMD initiative is committed to developing standards and quality practices, which incorporate the in-country perspective. Therefore, in Year 2 PQMD HSS/MM aims to obtain information and an understanding of the medical mission issues and process from the in-country viewpoint.
Developing the in-country feedback framework will require involvement and coordination with many in-country stakeholders, including the Ministry of Health (which often has authority split between departments), various local medical associations, national NGOs, key healthcare professionals, academic institutions and local community leaders.
For the PQMD HSS/MM initiative to be successful, it must develop these relationships and work with great diplomacy to create an appropriate in-country framework to improve medical missions. It should also be noted that each country is different and therefore a specific effort must be made in each country. The Consultant’s level of engagement in each country will vary depending on in-country presence and leadership from fellow working group members as well as Americares in-country staff and ability to engage local stakeholders. In other locations, the Consultant will play the lead role in relationship building and coordination of in-country vetting where additional working group or organizational support is not available. In any case, the Consultant will be responsible for monitoring and follow-up of all in-country activities, evaluation of findings and incorporation of findings to the existing guidelines after discussion with the working group. In all cases, the Consultant will work to encourage participants to join the CoP in order to continue the conversation and expand the network of those engaged in medical missions. This would also allow for cross collaboration and potential capacity building among and between stakeholders.
To date, the following countries have been proposed for international vetting. Additional countries may be added after further evaluation and discussion with the working group.
- Dominican Republic
- The Philippines
Note: The number of vetting countries in Year 2 will depend on the amount of resources and funding obtained.
3) Finalize PQMD Standards/Guidance/Metrics
Based on the information from the in-country vetting, the HSS/MM working group will revise the PQMD guidelines and add metrics. Ideally, the PQMD guidelines can be applicable for all countries (despite the noted differences in each country). It is also hoped that the PQMD guidelines can be designed to be appropriate for all medical disciplines (however, it is possible that sub-standards section may be needed to provide specific guidance (e.g. surgery, lab process).
In Year 2, it is expected that the PQMD HSS/MM Consultant and working group representatives will begin to work in collaboration with WHO and other multilateral organizations to obtain support for the guidelines. It is expected that formalizing the PQMD guidelines will require legal, accounting and other support services, which will need to be carried forward and finalized in Year 3.
4) Lead efforts to promote the PWMD HSS-MM Initiative through relevant communications platforms and share learnings to relevant stakeholder groups utilizing tools such as the Community of Practice.
As the initiative proceeds, communication of current work and relevant findings to date will be important in order to raise awareness about the initiative and to engage additional stakeholders. The Consultant will be responsible for collaborating with Americares and PQMD to advance the communications platform for the initiative. In addition, the Consultant will be responsible for supporting and leading efforts to share learnings from the initiative (i.e. developing webinars).
5) Represent PQMD and support the advancement of a coalition of associations engaged in medical missions.
During the first year of the HSS/MM initiative, a coalition of associations has developed which brings together stakeholders across academic institutions, religiously affiliated organizations, public health groups and NGOs. The coalition is currently formalizing its structure and goals and although currently not directly affiliated with PQMD, the overall vision of the coalition aligns with the mission of the PQMD HSS/MM initiative and opportunities for ongoing collaboration will be explored.
6) Manage administrative responsibilities and communications for regularly held working group, advisory and PQMD HSS/MM meetings. In addition, the consultant will be responsible for development of regularly scheduled reports for the donor.
The contract will begin on August 1st through June 1st (start date is flexible)
· Excellent oral and written communication skills including cross-cultural communication skills
· Ability to travel internationally
· Ability to collaborate with various stakeholder groups including local healthcare providers and government level officials
· Prior medical missions experience strongly preferred
· Prior public health or global health experience preferred